Family & Work Women in Law

Snapshot: Stacy Rahl, Obelisk Consultant

“Like so many I desperately wanted to keep working, as that is a fundamental part of my identity”

Tell us a little about yourself…

I am a dual-qualified solicitor and US lawyer with over 15 years of experience practising commercial and corporate law.  I was formerly a partner at a large international law firm in London and acted as general counsel of a start-up financial services firm.  I have worked with Obelisk for about 2 and a half years, with some time off in between to finally take the plunge, go the QLTS route and re-qualify as an English solicitor after 18 years in the UK!

Why did you decide to move into freelance work?

The demands of family, especially with a very “full on” working spouse, made full time work virtually impossible without a two-shift nanny system, and also like so many I desperately wanted to keep working, as that is a fundamental part of my identity.  High quality freelance work seemed the option that best suited.

What kind of work do you do?

Working as an Obelisk consultant has given me the best of both worlds. I have had one job with a very large multinational engineering company, and the other is assisting a small private practice with general corporate and compliance work.  The latter job is ongoing on a “stand by” basis.

What did these roles entail?

My first assignment took place after a large UK/US merger and involved the review and amendment of the company’s Code of Business Conduct and all of the company’s compliance policies for which the in-house legal team had responsibility.  The second assignment is on-going on a stand-by basis and has included advice on the Bribery Act, including drafting a policy, and the review and revision of commercial agreements.

What was the supervision and communication style of the clients with you?

It’s very easy.  Both clients were comfortable with remote work and had experience themselves with it, so most communication was or is by phone and email, with the occasional meeting.

Are you working remotely or at the clients offices, full-time or part-time?

Mostly remotely and part-time. It was my choice to work part-time, as I find 20-30 hours a week is the most I can do without feeling like other areas of my life are falling apart!

Have you been able develop skills or extend your experience into other areas?

Very much so.  I had some compliance experience before but I have greatly expanded the scope of my knowledge in that area in particular, as before I thought of myself primarily as a corporate/commercial lawyer.

Where would you like to be in 12 months’ time?

Pretty much what I’m doing now!  My children are in secondary school, but I still enjoy being able to make some of their sports and other activities with reasonable regularity.

How has the legal services market changed over the course of your professional career?

I have been practicing since 1992 (with two career breaks), and we didn’t have email when I started and documents had to be sent by a deadline based on the FedEx schedule!  As a result, remote working really was not done.  Part-time work was a concept, certainly, but it was widely believed unworkable for the type of work I did. Now it’s a reality.

By Kayleigh Ziolo

Kayleigh Ziolo has a background in magazine publishing and is writer and Commissioning Editor at Obelisk. She specialises in the subjects of workplace wellbeing, flexible working practices and gender equality.